Daily Digest - October 22, 2013

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"Part of our goal is to move incrementally, but our intention is to move toward a smaller General Conference." - Judi Kenaston, chair of the Commission on General Conference and conference secretary of the West Virginia Annual (regional) Conference.

2016 General Conference to see drop in delegates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore., will have about 15 percent fewer delegates than recent gatherings of The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body. The Commission on the 2016 General Conference voted Oct. 18 to set the target number of delegates at 850.
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30 pastors plan to perform same-sex union

LEBANON, Pa. (UMNS) -The Rev. Frank Schaefer will go before a church trial on Nov. 18 for performing the same-sex wedding of his son but he is going with the support of more than 30 of his fellow United Methodist pastors who also plan to violate the same church law. The pastors will participate in the wedding of a same-sex couple some time before the start of Schaefer's trial. The gender, identity and date of the ceremony is not being disclosed to protect the privacy of the couple.
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A call for the church to speak out on domestic violence

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Twenty-four advocates for survivors of spousal abuse gathered at St. Luke's United Methodist Church Oct. 2-4 for a conference titled "Shattering the Silence in the Faith Community." Speakers, including the Rev. Dountonia Slack, an abuse survivor, called for the church to do more toward awareness and prevention. The Rev. Daniel Gangler of the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
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Agency forms partnership with Healing Communities

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has announced a partnership with Healing Communities, a Philadelphia faith-based ministry that provides a framework to engage with people returning from or at risk of incarceration, their families and the larger community. Bill Mefford, the agency's director of civil and human rights, said Healing Communities is a way for United Methodist congregations to become "stations of hope" for returning citizens.
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Arrangements for the late Bishop Wertz

CARLISLE, Pa. (UMNS) - A memorial service for Bishop D. Frederick Wertz is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET Nov. 2 at Carlisle United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials for Bishop Wertz may be made to UMCOR, undesignated fund Advance No. 999895. Please make checks payable to "Advance GCFA" and mail them to: Advance GCFA, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. The memo line of the check should say "In memory of Bishop Fred Wertz."
To make a gift online
Bishop Wertz's obituary

Survey on online communion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - As part of a recent discussion of the possibility of online Eucharist, church leaders endorsed surveying United Methodists to get their thoughts on the practice. All United Methodist members, clergy and other individuals who attend or affiliate with The United Methodist Church are invited to fill out this short survey on Holy Communion online.
To take survey

Fire destroys Ohio church

CLEVELAND, Ohio (UMNS) - Fire destroyed Wilson United Methodist Church early Sunday morning, Cleveland.com reported. Firefighters said the building was fully engulfed when they arrived. Fire officials said it likely will take weeks to determine a cause for the fire and a damage estimate.
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Church rises from arson

CENTERTON, Ark. (UMNS) - Smoke was once again rising from Living Waters United Methodist Church, but instead of arson it was a barbecue. Nearly two years after fire destroyed the Centerton church's 89-year-old building, friends and family gathered to eat, drink and celebrate the opening of their new home The Rev. Omar Rikabi of the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference shares how the church recovered and is now more accessible.
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History of Hymns: 'God the Sculptor of the Mountain'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "God the Sculptor of the Mountain" is the most published work of the Rev. John Thornburg, a hymn writer and fourth-generation United Methodist. C. Michael Hawn discusses Thornburg's ministry.
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